Covid causes huge driving instructor demand

Driving schools in Lincolnshire have become so overloaded due to the coronavirus pandemic that waiting lists have been closed, and new instructors are desperately needed.

UDrive MSM Driving School.

The annual decline in driving instructors (ADIs) was compounded by the baby boom in 2003/2004, meaning there would have already been a natural backlog of pupils requiring instructors in 2020, with those babies reaching the age of 17.

But with driving tests halted for more than 260 days due to Covid restrictions, the backlog has sky-rocketed to an estimated 1,160,000 pupils having to wait for suspended tests. With pupils not gaining their licences, instructors are unable to continue taking on new learners.

Instructors are working on average 55.81 percent over normal capacity but they still can't keep up with demand, so the only way to cut the current waiting list of nine months for learner drivers is to recruit more ADIs.

Managing Director Glyn Morgan (right), and his father, Brian Morgan.

Glyn Morgan, Managing Director of UDrive MSM Driving School, said: "UDrive has a great reputation: we have never struggled to fill our waiting lists, but it means we are currently turning away hundreds of new learners a week. We hate having to say no to people desperate to use our instructors.

"Learning to drive is such a personal experience and you have to be totally comfortable with your instructor. As a service provider, it hurts to let people down.

"UDrive has no way of knowing who they will go to instead; of course there is a chance they will find an adequate instructor elsewhere, but there are a lot of poor instructors out there in other companies, due to substandard training and little ongoing support. I feel a personal responsibility for everyone contacting us. I wish we were able to help every learner but it is just impossible at the moment without more instructors."

UDrive are recruiting additional instructors in Lincoln, Gainsborough, Grantham and Sleaford, as well as branching out to other areas.

There has never been a better time to become a driving instructor. Job security for new ADIs is absolutely guaranteed, and driving schools have been able to raise their franchisees’ hourly rates as a result of increased public appreciation for the service they provide.

UDrive Franchise offers the benefits of being your own boss without the risks involved with having your own business.

Paul Tovey, UDrive instructor said that the best parts of the job are that the pay is good and you have flexibility, but seeing the end product in a student passing their test is the most satisfying:

"My main career was in the Royal Navy, and then I became a taxi driver. I became a driving instructor so I could choose hours to suit me, and it offered a better pay packet.

"I had a good teacher in UDrive instructor trainer Jane Clark. I found part 1 and 2 relatively easy but part 3 was more of a challenge.

"Patience is important, trying not to get frustrated when putting across a point and your student looking at you blankly.

"Being a franchise gives you the satisfaction of knowing work will be sourced by others along with the referrals you accumulate. UDrive also gives me comfort and makes us all feel like family.

"During the pandemic there was adequate support by the government, although the gap between 2nd and 3rd grant was quite long in coming. UDrive was always there to guide us through the process.

"I am thankful to be part of a franchise as UDrive kept us all in the know with what the circumstances were, in terms of Covid restrictions and changes of guidelines."

To become an ADI, you must have had a driving licence for more than four years and pass a DBS check. If you have any points on your license, the DVSA will consider the seriousness of the offences and decide whether you can start the training process.

You must also have an enjoyment of driving, be personable, have the ability to adapt to each individual, be reliable, good concentration, have good time management and plenty of patience.

To find out more about becoming an ADI, visit UDrive MSM's website here.